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ASCII Pronunciation Rules for Programmers


Paul -

I am from Ontario, Canada. I have heard french brackets on many occasions. In addition, fancy or curly brackets has been used as well.


Heh. Reminds me of the interviewee that kept talking about his experience in “See-pound”. He didn’t get the job.


Mark on June 14, 2008 04:05 AM:
Ahh, the age-old # = pound, number, hash, octothorpe, sharp, etc debate.

I believe the definitive answer is “anything but pound”. You Americans only call it pound because it’s in the same place as the actual pound () key on the GB keyboard layout :slight_smile:

Actually, the ‘#’ symbol has appeared on our telephones long before computers became commonplace. In this context, it’s always been called “pound”.

Note, I still call it “pound” when referring to the button on a telephone, but I call the character itself a “hash symbol”.


You left out:

@ monkey


parenthesis are “bananas” - left banana, right banana. Think about it.


“What purpose does the backslash purpose serve, anyway? It’s the path separator in Windows, of course, but you can’t use a regular slash in file names, and lots of Windows programs will take either as the separator. Most of the above have origins in pre-digital typesetting, but I can’t think of a non-computer use for a backslash.”

Actually, internally Windows treats ‘/’ the same as ‘’ in paths. This is the case since DOS2.0 (and that was the first version of DOS knowing about paths at all, before that there only where drive letters and files). Only the user interface like cmd.exe or explorer.exe insist of using backslashes. So I never understood the fuzz about “porting” file names to convert backslashes to slashes and vice versa. Using slashes only would have been just fine, especially because in many languages you have to type two backslashes to get a single one. And that is, just because some moron at Microsoft decided to use a well-established escape character for path delimiting. “We are different from Unix, eh?”


Does no one else refer to a Single quote as a ‘Squote’?


I just invented new terms for \ /

How about left-right slash or left-right bar because of the way they lean?


I think there only one way to pronounce these so that it fits the schema


Isn’t the @ called an ampersat ? the same way the is an ampersand.


My maths professor told me that his name for a brace {} is a tit-bracket.

  • left Pac Man
  • right Pac Man


is left pac man
is right pac man


sorry for triplicate post but what I was trying to say was that I sometimes when I can’t think of the words call the left angle bracket left pac man and the right angle bracket right pac man :slight_smile:


Having gone to a heavily Unix-oriented college, we CompSci majors quickly learned to refer to ! as “dammit” or suffer the rantings of one grey-bearded, all-powerful, Berkeley-educated professor. It came from vi, as in :w! “write, dammit” or :q! “quit, dammit.”

Now I’m working in a Microsoft shop where they can’t even say ‘SQL’ correctly. It’s making me beard turn grey…


C octothorpe… it’s the latest version in .NET 4.0


@Mike McClellan: It’s called the teary-eye. Look: _

P. S.: Jeff, please implement a threaded view for comments so that discussions can be held more easily within the comments.


Complete Dutch pronunciation (and translation to english)

! uitroepteken (exclamation mark)
" dubbele aanhalingstekens (double quotation marks)

hekje (fence)

$ dollarteken (dollar mark)
% procent (percent)
en , ampersand (ampersand)
’ aanhalingsteken (quotation mark)
() haakjes (hooks)
[] vierkante haakjes, blok haken (square hooks)
{} accolades (from the french for curly brackets)
kleiner dan teken, groter dan teken (smaller than mark, greater than mark)

  • sterretje (star)
  • plus (plus)
    , komma (comma)
  • streepje (line)
    . punt (period)
    / schuine streep (diagonal line)
    \ schuine streep, backslash (diagonal line, backslash from english as clarification )
    : dubbele punt (double point)
    ; punt-komma (point comma)
    = is (is)
    ? vraagteken (question mark)
    @ apenstaartje, AT (monkey tail, ‘at’ with emphasis)
    ^ dakje (roof)
    _ onderstreep (underline)
    | stok (stick)
    ~ tilde (tilde)



@ is also known in English as the “commercial a” or “commercial at”. “Asperand” seems to be a recent invention that has not yet been formalized by inclusion in any major dictionary.

It’s always fascinated me that such a ubiquitous character does not have an “official”, single-word name in English.


Hi Jeff.

Great post (and blog) - very well researched!

So - every key/symbol on a regular keyboard is pretty much used (scarily) whilst coding… How’s about the symbol??? I’ve never used it - it doesn’t do anything. What’s it’s name? What does it do?